Carol Cheatwood
  This activity is part of an action research grant to prepare Families First (Tennessee's Welfare to Work initiative) recipients for home ownership. The focus of the action research grant was creating work-focused Families First classrooms. This activity is the last in a series and should be preceded by lessons on percent problems, changing decimals to percents, and reading a protractor and measuring angles.

  Critical thinking, General education development (GED), Life skills, Mathematics, Adult basic education, Consumer education

Learner Level:
  Basic skills, grade level 5.0-8.9

Time Frame:
  2 hours

Learner Grouping:
  Small group

  This learning activity was developed for a class of Families First participants that met 5 days a week for 4 hours a day in a regular classroom setting. There were approximately 5 learners in attendance. Families First is the Tennessee program to provide training for those welfare recipients who lack basic education skills. While learners continue to work toward a GED, emphasis in these classes is shifting toward the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learners need to acquire and keep a good job.

  Not available

  Lawrence County Adult Learning Center

Type of Program:

Student Population Served:
  Basic skills (grade levels 5-8.9)

Making a circle graph of a sample budget

As a small group, learners categorize expenses, calculate what percent of the total income is spent in each category, change percents to degrees, measure each piece of the "pie" and cut out construction paper to assemble a pie graph. __________________________________________________________

Learning Objective:
Learners will be able to convert budget category totals to percents, and then to degrees to make a circle graph related to a sample budget.

Primary Skill:
Use math to solve problems and communicate

Learner Needs & Goals:
The learners were studying the Fannie Mae curriculum "How to Buy Your Own Home" and were beginning to consider the possibility that they might apply for a mortgage in order to purchase a home. Standard guidelines for qualifying for a home mortgage state that housing should not exceed 28% of monthly gross income. Before completing a mortgage application, they needed to know how to apply their math knowledge to their own budgets to figure the percent of income for each category in a budget.

Learning Activity Description:

  1. Ask learners to look at the sample budget.

  2. Ask learners to categorize the entries as a group.

  3. Let each learner choose a category for which they will find a total. My learners found totals for car, housing, savings, utilities, charity, food and miscellaneous. Once learners find a total for each category, have them share the information with others in the group. Have each learner find the grand total. This should be equal to the total income on the budget.

  4. At this point, each learner in the group should have a "part" and a "whole." Review how to work a percent problem with learners, if needed.

  5. Have each learner find the percent of income spent in their category. For example, if the total expense for housing is $450.00 and the total income is $1500.00, then the percent of income spent on housing is 30%.

  6. Have learners add all the percents together to make sure they total 100%. If they do not, have learners check each other's work until the percents do total 100%.

  7. Review with learners how to convert the percentages to degrees, if needed. In our example, take 30% and convert to a decimal by moving the decimal point two places to the left. Then, multiply .30 by 360 (because there are 360 degrees in a circle.) You should get 108 degrees. Round answers off to the nearest degree.

  8. Once all categories are converted to degrees, the learners should make a large circle on the poster board in pencil. (We used an 8-inch paper plate. After tracing around the plate, find the center of the circle by folding the plate in half and creasing, then folding the plate in half again at a different place and creasing. Where the two diameters cross is the center of the circle. Poke a small hole through the center of the paper plate. Matching the circumference of the plate to the circle on the poster board, transfer a sharp pencil point hole through the plate to the poster board for the circle center.) Have each learner measure out the angle for their category on a piece of colored construction paper to fit on the 8-inch circle. (Each category should be a different color.) Review how to use a protractor, if needed. Some learners may need help. If so, encourage them to help each other until all the pieces are cut out accurately.

  9. If you have access to a computer with word processing capabilities, have the learners decide the title for the graph and use the computer to print it. Then, have someone from the group to gather all the names of the categories and percents for each category and print them.

  10. Finally, glue the construction paper angles and cut out labels to the circle on the poster board. Does it make a complete circle? The learners will know immediately if they have done it correctly.

Materials and Resources:
Sample Budget (can be teacher made, found in a basic math skills book, or in any reference book on budgeting such as The Budget Kit. 2nd ed., by Judy Lawrence, Dearborn Financial Publishing, Inc., Chicago, IL, 1977. ISBN 0-7931-2343-7) Protractor for each learner, construction paper (enough colors for each category), poster board (one for each group), a pair of scissors (one for each learner will make things go faster), word processing computer and printer (optional).

Learners will know if they have met the learning objective by the fact that their angles will fit together to form a circle graph.

This lesson could be followed up with an assignment for each of the learners to make circle graphs of their own personal budgets.


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